It is usually an actor’s dream to be part of a billion dollar movie franchise, but when that franchise is the Fifty Shades Trilogy then it could be seen as more of a nightmare considering the terrible critical reception the films received, and the constant ridicule the movies have come under for over half a decade. However, the man who played Christian Grey in the movies, Jamie Dornan doesn’t seem to have any regrets about being part of the dark, erotic series, and as he takes the lead in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it is clear to see that it hasn’t hindered his career either.
Speaking to British GQ magazine, Dornan responded to the question of whether he does wish he had not taken on the Fifty Shades of Grey role, saying, “Ultimately, no. I mean, I understood the job and the reactions. I was in the running for it for a long time, remember. It wasn’t some split decision I made on a whim. I was beaten to it the first time by Charlie Hunnam and I felt a certain amount of relief when he got it, to be honest. I thought, ‘This would have been fun, but it would have been a strange ride. Better not to be on that ride.’ But he pulled out and then I got a call. And I got it. And there we go. I had to confront that choice again.”
Although he was pressed further on the subject, he simply added, “Look, put it this way: it’s done no harm to my career to be part of a movie franchise that has made more than $1 billion. Every working actor would say the same thing.”
Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the publishing phenomenon by E.L. James, arrived in cinemas in February 2015 after being the subject of a bidding war between every major movie studio who wanted a piece of the action, with Universal Studio and Focus Features coming out victorious. Dornan played the eponymous Christian Grey, with Dakota Johnson playing Anastasia Steele who finds her naïve existence turned on its head. The movie took just under $570 million globally, making double its $40 million budget from the opening weekend domestic haul alone, and the trilogy overall went on to become one of the biggest selling R-rated franchises ever. However, the audience numbers certainly didn’t equate to glowing reviews, with the film sitting on a 25% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, although that was a stunning victory in comparison to the 11%/12% that the subsequent sequels received.
It is partially because of the critical mauling the movies were given that Dornan and the rest of the cast are still living under the shadow of the franchise, as he said he still seems to be “paying penance” for taking on the role as even his new movie Belfast has seen comments in the press along the lines of “It’s the best thing he’s done since Fifty Shades.” Belfast has been gaining a lot of attention and is fast becoming a leading name for numerous awards, having already been a hit with TIFF audiences and winning the People’s Choice Award. Perhaps this could be the movie to finally put paid to the constant Fifty Shades comparisons.
The new movie Belfast, which also stars Jude Hill, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, is slated for general release on November 12th. This comes to us from GQ Magazine.